Beauty Shot

Luara is an experienced model and can deliver hi fashion poses easily. This time shooting beauty, I noticed that it took her a while before she came to terms with her thoughts and emotions. She nailed it eventually, the professional that she is. (Model: Laura Herrmann, Makeup: Catherine Diala)

I’m always fascinated with beauty shots. Every time I find myself in Watsons or beauty products area in a department stores, I always end up staring at the different beauty ads. I try to analyse how the lights were set up and how the poses are done and most importantly, how the image is trying to connect and communicate. Continue reading “Beauty Shot” »

Sources of Inspiration

I took my inspiration from a piece of garment that I saw. I love the texture and color of the material and many times I attempted to use it and apply it in my concept, all failed. This time, I shared my idea to my stylist and this came out.

In one of my workshops for Canon, one attendee asked a question on how to keep on coming up with new ideas for fashion editorial shoot. It was a difficult question to answer but somebody asked me the same question last year and after that I really tried to put my head on it and try to map my sources of inspiration and how my thought process works. I came up with not only one but many sources. Continue reading “Sources of Inspiration” »

Pixel Dimension

More than megapixels and digital image, photography is still an art and no amount of technology will replace the eye of a photographer. Master photographer and Fujifilm ambassador Rommel Bundalian captured this timeless scene in Leon, Iloilo using a medium format Fujifilm 50s.

When you started learning about photography you probably asked what is the pixel dimension or megapixel of your camera. Of course, the assumption is always the more pixels the better the camera. It’s quite obvious that camera in cellphone is mostly promoted to have more pixel thus better quality images.

While it’s true that pixel dimension adds to the quality of the image, it’s is just a part of how an image is measured in quality. There’s also how big the sensor and how much noise can it avoid even in low light condition. There’s dynamic range that can really kill the quality of the image. All these considerations is part of how the quality of an image is assessed. Continue reading “Pixel Dimension” »

Down the Rabbit Hole

Shooting the Coach: After one hour of shooting I decided to take a break. I can’t seem to find the right light. If there’s a bad hair day, you can call this the bad light day. I kept on trying for another hour until I got what I want. From three lights to one. (Model: Lorie Enriquez, Makeup: Catherine Diala)

I am at a helpless level in photography right now. Gears cannot help me anymore. Majority of the challenge right now is creativity. The pace of Improvement at this stage is very slow. Tons of effort with few positive results. Still don’t know how long and far this level will be and what will be next down the rabbit hole.

When I started shooting fashion inspired photos back in the 2010, I had my eyes fixed on a target. I know what I want and where I’m headed. The destination was clear. I also know that there will be many challenges ahead. I had everything planned and although I made some adjustments along the way, it was manageable.

Continue reading “Down the Rabbit Hole” »

Problem Solving

I’ve been shooting fashion inspired photos for about 7 years already and not all of them came out well. One common thing though is I’m learning in each and every shoot I had, especially those ones that are frustratingly challenging. When it happens, nothing will be in place and no matter how you try to solve it, it will just get worse.

I recently had a chance to shoot Ms.Mara Smith, a Bisaya Black-American-Filipina standing 5 feet 10 inches tall. She was a natural in front of the camera. After preparing 6 lights, one was enough after all.

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Leaving a gem behind

The photography industry fed by the camera manufacturer with the latest functionality and technology has been in this cycle ever since. Photographers would mostly want the latest gears in their hand whether it’s essential in their workflow or maybe the thinking that it can improve your shots.

I should know, I’m one of the zombie photographer who always want the latest tech in my hand. My shots did really improved but I don’t think the camera has anything to do with it. Maybe I was inspired to shoot better because it’s top of the line equipment but no, it was all me.

Since I normally shoot tethered in studio, the LCD disadvantage in 5D MkII is not an issue. Maybe a bit issue in focusing but it’s manageable. Other than that, everything works perfectly fine. (Model: Danielle Pires, MUA: Catherine Diala)

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Creative Space

I started serious photography sometime 2010 and I started it in a studio. Although I took some landscape and a few outdoor shooting back then, still, my creative space is inside a studio. I guess you can say that my photography was born in a studio. There was a point in my photography journey that I feared shooting with ambient light.

Started shooting inside a studio again. One light setup. (GRP Studio – Malate)

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Color Toning

Color grading is mostly used in editing movies. This is one way to set a mood and trance the audience into a different experience. If you’re a fan of the movie Matrix, you can obviously see the green in the mid tone and shadows in the entire movie. It was a bit exaggerated and weird but it works and it sets the mood and depth of every scene.

Apply grading or color toning in still photos is a lot more easier than in movies. You also get a lot of control on the tones when editing having more pixel quality than in movie frames. One way to completely flip your image from an ordinary looking photograph to something different and distinct is applying color toning.

n this photo, you can see that the skin color is a bit desaturated. Blue is added in shadows and yellow in highlights but applied very subtle. (Model: Christy of Stacy Model Management, Janice BeautyFairy for makeup)

Color toning is tricky and can ruin your image if done wrong but of course it really differs from the artist’s taste. In fact, Instagram is using color toning as filters to add a unique approach to your photos. The effect of the technique is surreal but applying just a pinch of toning can make the difference between an everyday looking photo to something interesting. Continue reading “Color Toning” »

Of Confidence and Imagination

Last weekend, I handled another fashion photography workshop at Philippine Center for Creative Imaging (PCCI). It was surprising to see photographers interested in this genre to come from different industries. One was an IT consultant who loves to shoot fashion on the side. There was one who owns a printing company and the other one owns a trading business.

Shot by one of the students. A lot is happening in the set. There’s lighting to pay attention to and of course working with the model at the same time.

I myself also came from the graphics industry for two decades of my career but decided to go full time shooting commercial and fashion. My students last weekend did not only come from different industries, they were also different in characters. We had one that completely mutes when shooting the model to the one that won’t stop talking in the set. Continue reading “Of Confidence and Imagination” »

When You’re a Creative

When you don’t care if it’s perfect or not. When you start to communicate visually. When you are able to communicate emotions. When you creatively communicate. When you’re a creative.

In a short workshop I did for Canon last week, one of the attendees asked me if I get jealous or hurt if another photographer makes a beautiful shot. Before I answered the question, I asked her how long has she been shooting. She answered for about a year already. I was never asked this kind of question before. I know my answer, I’m just not sure if it’s the right advice. Continue reading “When You’re a Creative” »